The Pittsburgh Penguins got even with the New York Rangers Sunday night.
Shutting out the Rangers 3-0 in Game 2, Pittsburgh knotted the series up at one, heading into Madison Square Garden Monday night.
Marc-Andre Fleury was exceptional. Stonewalling 22-shots from New York, Fleury bounced-back promptly from a mediocre performance in Game 1. He also recorded his seventh career playoff shutout, which is now tops in franchise history.
The first period didn’t start exactly how Pittsburgh drew it up.
Surrendering three power-plays in the first 7:04-minutes of the game, Pittsburgh put themselves in a position to be down, but were able to persevere through the fouls. Weathering the storm, the Pens went into the second period all-square at zero.
Failing to convert on a man-advantage early in the second, Pittsburgh would catch a break.
Making a heavy push at Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, center Evgeni Malkin found Kris Letang, who attempted to dish it off the Chris Kunitz in front of the net, and instead it ricocheted off Rangers’ defenseman Dan Girardi and into the cage, giving Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.
That’s where the game would stand – 1-0 Pittsburgh moving into the third.
The Pens’ power-play has been wildly inconsistent, and it was no different in Sunday’s bout. However, the final man-advantage of the game proved to be the dagger for New York.
Receiving a two-minute power-play courtesy of a Derek Dorsett boarding minor, Pens’ forward Jussi Jokinen buried a juicy rebound off a James Neal shot with 3:30-minutes left to seal the deal. And for good measure, Malkin poured in an empty-netter to make it 3-0.
It was a win Pittsburgh certainly needed, but they’re still committing unforced errors.
For starters, the unnecessary penalties are weighing heavily, despite New York’s struggles on the power-play. That, and turnovers are still factoring a role in dictating the pace of play.
Other stats to pass along – Letang had two assists to go along with his second-period tally, and Kunitz added a helper.
Notes to distribute – Brian Gibbons slotted in place of Tanner Glass. While it’s nice to see Gibbons is healthy enough to play, it’s interesting to see head coach Dan Bylsma going with the rookie over Glass. This should be the case again for Game 3.
Monday’s Game 3 can be seen on the NBC Sports Network, and is set to start at 7:30 p.m.